St. Oliver Plunkett

Last Catholic martyred at Tyburn. Canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975, first Irish saint canonized since St. Lawrence O’Toole in 1226. Feast day July 11

the brightest name in the Irish Church
throughout the whole period of persecution.

Plunkett, Oliver (1629 – 81). He was born on November 1 at Lougherew, Meath, Ireland, of a noble family that supported King Charles I and the cause of Irish freedom. He studied at St. Mary’s Benedictine Abbey in Dublin, went to the Irish college in Rome when he was sixteen, and was ordained in 1654. He spent the next fifteen years in Rome serving as professor of theology at the College of the Propagation of the Faith, was consultor of the Sacred Congregation of the Index, and was procurator for the Irish bishops.

In 1669, he was named archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland and was consecrated at Ghent. He returned to Ireland in 1670 and spent the next four years reorganizing his diocese, reforming the abuses that had arisen during the absences of persecuted bishops, enforcing clerical discipline, and improving relations between secular and order clergy.

In 1673 the renewed persecution of Catholics forced many bishops to flee, and he was forced into hiding. In 1678, in the aftermath of the Titus Oates plot, all Catholic priests and bishops were ordered expelled from Ireland, and on December 6, 1679, he was imprisoned in Dublin Castle on charges of conspiring to bring about a rebellion against the British crown. The charges were obviously false but he was removed to Newgate Prison in London, where he was kept in solitary confinement for nine months. In a travesty of a trial, he was convicted
of high treason, complicity in the Titus Oates plot, and hanged, drawn, and quartered on July 1 at Tyburn, the last Catholic to suffer martyrdom there. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975, the first Irish saint to be canonized since St. Lawrence O’Toole in 1226. July 1.
[295 words]

See the more detailed biography (1,850 words)
in The Catholic Encyclopedia.